Lincoln parkrun tourism

Planning a weekend away after our wedding obviously has to include a parkrun;  indeed the choice of hotel was governed by being within running distance of the nearest parkrun (obsession??!).  Lincoln isn’t too far away from us, which meant that we wouldn’t be spending too much time travelling and it is somewhere that I have wanted to visit for a while.

We stayed in the Double Tree by Hilton on Brayford Wharf and arrived on Friday lunchtime after a pretty easy journey (actually, sorting out the child and the dogs to leave for the weekend is the hardest thing!) and we were happy to be able to check in early, dump our bags and head out to explore.

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Inside Lincoln Cathedral

Steep Hill is called that for a reason!  It is not often that we get to just wander at leisure – we always seem to be busy and rushing to move on to the next thing.  What a nice change then to be able to take our time, stop for a glass of wine, wander a bit further.  We kept it simple in the evening by popping to the Ask restaurant just a few hundred metres from the hotel to have a lovely meal and share a bottle of fizz.  This was also the fifth anniversary of my step brother passing away so a bit of sadness was there too.  I still don’t feel that I’ve dealt with his death emotionally at all – but actually have no idea how to.

Five years ago on these same few days was one of the worst times of my life.  I’d been forced out of my home, my step brother died at 37 after a relatively short fight with cancer and I was struggling to cope with just day to day things.  Five years – seems such a short time, but also such a long time (if that makes any sense at all).  Life has certainly changed!  I’m very happy to have such a happy occasion to think of at this time of year now.

Lincoln parkrun

About a mile and a half steady trot along the side of the canal took us to the start of parkrun – a slight wrong turning on one of the paths in the park meant we were a bit later than planned (and missed the first timers briefing) but in time for the general welcome (and a surprise when we bumped into Wendy from our home parkrun!).  It had rained LOTS over night and the grass was very wet where we were stood, which meant we were getting eaten alive by the bugs whilst we waited L  should have remembered the insect repellent.

The course starts on the grass and quickly narrows to tarmac paths for three loops round the park.  I wondered if I’d find the laps boring, but because it was quite twisty and through trees / over bridges / round corners etc it was fine.

I was over the moon with a finishing time of 25:18 !

Lincoln parkrun
Lincoln parkrun

A steady walk / jog back to the hotel ended up a bit quicker when we realised we had time to get back, shower and still be in time for breakfast!  This is perfect and something we will certainly look for in future – a hotel that serves breakfast till 11 fits in great.

Did I like Lincoln parkrun – Yes

Would I visit again – definitely Yes.  It was friendly and we even got a mention in the weekly report (although how they knew who we were / where we are from is a mystery!).

Saturday afternoon and Sunday and we were back up Steep Hill each day to visit the Cathedral and the Castle – both well worth a visit.  I will admit by the end of the weekend my legs were aching.  Lincoln is a lovely place to visit and I hope to go back before long.

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Lincoln Cathedral taken from the Castle Walls

A special event

If you have come here expecting a blog post about running, just bare with me, I will get there eventually 😉

Thursday 20th July.  The first of a few days off work.  Pouring with rain!  So what is a girl to do, but go and get married!

A few months ago we’d got engaged and at the time agreed that we didn’t want to wait ages and ages before getting married, but then you start thinking about the logistics, the politics (who to invite, who not, who you have to etc etc!), the cost, the hassle, the stress…….   and we really didn’t want our day to be about all of that.  We have both been married before, which does make a difference but wanted the day to be about us, the commitment that we were making to each other and without any of the hassle.

So we decided to not invite anyone!  That is, apart from our witnesses, who were my son and my OH’s daughter.   Not only did we not invite anyone, we didn’t tell anyone either.

It was perfect

Instead of rushing around to the hairdressers (for a style you’ve never had before and don’t even look like yourself) and having nails done, I got up and took the dogs out for a walk.  I did my own hair, didn’t bother painting my nails.

There were a few nerves in the car on the way to the registry office – after all, it is an important thing we were doing but once we were there I was surprisingly calm.  A very nice, very relaxed ceremony – which included photo’s taken by our kids and even a few I took of them (I said it was relaxed!) while we were waiting for the register to be completed.  It was really personal, vows said to each other rather than just repeated to the official and then we were married!

I’d booked afternoon tea at Burythorpe House Hotel for the four of us.  Would recommend if you are in the area!  The food was delicious and the service good too.  It also meant that we weren’t eating too late in the afternoon – important for what we had planned next…

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Running club!

What else would we do on a Thursday night other than go to running club ? 😉

We had put a post on facebook in the afternoon so many did know what we’d been up to by the time we got to club, but the t shirts we’d got for the occasion helped others work out what was going on.

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It was a perfect day, perfect for us.

More about the weekend away and parkrun tourism next.

Planning recovery…

Two weeks after my half marathon and I suddenly stopped to think about recovery from the race.

  • My first half marathon I took a 3 days off running afterwards to recover.
  • The second – 2 days
  • The third – 1 day !

The first and second the rest of the week was fairly gentle runs.  This time, first run back was a club track session.  I decided to go, but take it easy.  But then when you get there, you are on the track, your legs start to warm up……  I ended up pushing far more than I’d planned to!  I don’t think it has really done any harm though.

Do you plan your recovery tactic just as you plan your training?

I’ve also taken some time in the last week or so to run on my own.  As much as I love running with others, having the support and gentle competitiveness, I also NEED to run on my own sometimes.  It is my time, my space, time to sort the head out.

I’m struggling at the moment to find quiet time (very well described by Duff Running here).  My sleep and concentration are affected.  I’m fine, just busy and thinking lots but I need to find a way of dealing with this – and for me, that is running on my own.

The weekend after the half I set off on the Sunday morning with my OH and the dogs.  I’d already said that I would probably go off on my own so after about a mile and a half he turned round and I carried on.  I was pushing a bit so decided to do half a mile tempo efforts with half mile recoveries at a pace that was still good but comfortable.  I ended up running 6.2 miles, at an average pace of 8:49 per mile.  I was very pleased with this!  And did it do my head any good?  Yes!

A few good runs during the week and I made the decision (only in my head, didn’t admit it out loud) that I was going to push at parkrun.   I ended up chatting after my quick warm up so didn’t make it to the front of the starting group, but several rows back.  At a parkrun with a narrow section very soon after the start this can make quite a big difference but I didn’t get held up too much and I was off.

The start of Sewerby parkrun is along the land train route – tarmac, relatively flat, straight.  Easy to go off too fast!  I glanced at my watch and spotted that I was running a sub 8 min mile pace so slowed up a bit to try and save enough to complete.  My leg were letting me know that I was pushing heading back up the cliff path and the mind games started with me wondering if my legs would fail me.  There wasn’t much of a smile for our club coach who was marshalling at this point…

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Sewerby parkrun – no energy for a smile!

My worst bit on this parkrun is just after the 2 mile point, where you head back to and cross in front of the house – I really tried to keep pushing but know I slowed down a bit.

Approaching the final section that takes you on a loop through the woodland I caught up with someone who I knew can run faster than me, and that if I overtook he would definitely respond and I didn’t think I’d keep with him.  I decided to stick behind him and see if I could keep up.  Although I do like this section of the course, I don’t keep pace very well therefore having a pacer would be a good idea – and I think it worked!  He gained some space after the set of steps which just turn my legs to jelly, but I pretty much made that back up in the final 400 metres finishing just 2 seconds behind.

Finishing time 25:39 – 7th female

This is my fastest time in nearly two years!  Very happy!

 

Humber Bridge Half Marathon

Sunday morning, alarm set for 6am…..

Haven’t run since Tuesday so the legs should be fresh…..

On a thankfully cooler morning we were up, dressed, stuff grabbed together and in the car by 7am.  Not feeling prepared at all!

I’m sure there is a bit of slightly hysterical humour on a morning such as this, when we are wondering at what point setting your alarm this early on a Sunday and going to run a long way became fun.  This became evident when we spotted a club mates car up ahead… hence we had to overtake on the dual carriage way and wave manically at them.  At least it gave us all a giggle.

After a quick stop at the garage for cash, sweets and water we arrived in good time to be directed to park in the school playing fields.  This was a good few minutes walk away for the start / finish area but not too bad.

As numbers and chips had been posted out, there wasn’t much that needed to be done once we were actually there which meant the time was passed by taking group selfies and queuing for the loo.  Managed to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time (in the loo queue, where else?!) who went on to run a fab race and got second in her age category (well done Sharon!).

You are then shepherded out of the finish area to make your way onto the road for the start.  I was pleased that we weren’t hanging around here very long and that the loudspeaker for the organiser was very loud – too often you struggle to hear what race directors are saying.  Some nice loud music added to the atmosphere too.

This was my first time doing this race, but my OH had run it last year.  I’d already told him to stop telling me which were his ‘worst bits / hated bits / boring bits’ as I wanted to approach the course without his opinions affecting me (you know if you are told it’s a horrid hill, it’s already horrid before you’ve even got there).  We had kind of decided to run together, with the agreement that if one of us was feeling stronger then they would go on ahead and not hang back for the other.

And we were off !

The first few miles of the race takes you underneath the Humber Bridge and in a square around Hessle to join the approach road for the bridge itself. For some reason I didn’t really settle in and feel like the race was underway until I was on the bridge.  I think this is because so much emphasis is put on running on the bridge.

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On the Humber Bridge (thanks Charley for the picture)

As you pass through the toll booths onto the bridge you pass the two mile marker.  11.1 miles to go.  A slight climb up towards the centre of the bridge and then a nice long downhill down towards the southbank.  I was grateful for the breeze up here as running around town had been surprisingly warm.

I’d kind of decided that I needed to take advantage of the elevation and use the downhills to get my average pace up… hence why mile 4  was completed in 8.59 mins – my quickest mile of the whole race.

The route then takes you up the slip road which is a fairly steep hill, before a decent into Barton and a big loop around the town.  This was probably the bit I found most boring.  Yes there were spectators, but I’m not keep on running through towns at any time.

I knew that we would go through the mile 8 marker at around the point that we passed underneath the bridge on the southbank – and I had this in my head as a way to think that I was nearly two thirds of the way through the race.  I knew that shortly after this we would have to face ‘Cardiac Hill’ and my mental games were focused on thinking that it didn’t matter if this hill was hard, I was in the last third of the race.

The hill was hard.

I did walk part of it – not a lot though, and tried to keep up a good fast paced walk when I did.  At this point my OH went on ahead but I was determined to keep him in sight.  Ten mile marker and we made our way back onto the A15 to approach the bridge for the second time.  Just was we were on the bridge itself I managed to catch back up with my OH and it was nice to have his support in the final couple of miles.

Now you might think that a bridge is relatively flat, or that if it was a climb to the centre and then downhill on the way over, then it must be the same on the way back…  No it isn’t !

The southbank is obviously at a much lower level than the northbank (see, running helps with geography too 😉 ) so what was a gentle climb followed by a nice downhill on the way out, was a long uphill followed by just about level on the way back.  On tired legs this was hard.  Add in to the mix that it was now quite windy and I was getting buffeted around and it sapped every bit of energy out of the system.

I had worn my camelbak, filled with tailwind and had been forcing myself to have at least a few sips every mile, but by the time I’d hit 11 miles I just couldn’t face any more (I’d actually drunk very little when I looked to see how much was left in the camelbak).

I was very grateful to come off the bridge and make my way into the finish.  Where the sprint finish (best pace 5.27 min / mile!) came from I have no idea.

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Sprint finish!  (thanks Charley for the picture)

My ideal would have been to run at a 9 min / mile average pace.  I knew that this was not possible due to the lack of training and my weight.  I’d therefore set myself another target that I’d be very happy if I managed to average a 9.30 min / mile pace.  I actually didn’t think that this was likely at all.

We did miss the 2 hour mark, coming in at 02:04:33

But I did get the 9.30 min / mile average 🙂

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Did I enjoy it?

Not sure – I found it very hard and my lack of preparation showed

Will I do it again?

I’m not rushing to enter it for next year, but if I was looking at doing another road half marathon I would consider it.

Bling?

Nice tshirt and medal.  Engraving of your medal offered onsite for £3.50.

Sledmere Sunset Trail 10k

‘A scenic 10k multi terrain run starting and finishing in the grounds of Sledmere House, Sledmere.’

My first time at this event.  Pretty local to me, beautiful countryside, off road – it meant that I really did need to enter.  Despite it being very hard, I’m pleased I did.

This is an evening run, with a start time of 7.30pm – not a time that I generally choose to run if I can help it but I think it leads to a nice relaxed atmosphere and everyone seemed to be pretty chilled.  Parking was easy, as was registration and picking up numbers.  One thing to note is that this is not chip timed (important for some).

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coming into the finish – it was warm!

A short queue at last minute for the loo (I’d not realised the start was a little way from the front of Sledmere House, so would be a little bit earlier in the queue another year!) and we headed to the front of the house and then to walk down to the start area.  It really is a beautiful setting, so worth lifting your head up and having a look round.  We had a stunning evening of clear blue skies that made everything look pretty special.

I keep saying ‘we’ but haven’t explained that one.  I was with my partner and there were fifteen of us from our running club – a good turnout for a small club particularly when there are several races this weekend in the area.

Pleased to say that there wasn’t much hanging around at the start and we were off.  A short level section on a chalk track followed quickly by a climb. I find this really difficult early on in a race, before I’ve had time to warm up properly and find a rhythm.   The course consisted of a small loop followed by a larger loop which took in part of the first but in the opposite direction.  Mile two ended up being a fab mile for me and my quickest of the race (not the best pacing but never mind!) as it was through the woods and slightly downhill.  I did pay for this later on in the race though when the legs were burning.

The worst section of the race was around mile four (and my slowest mile). We were taken out of the woods and into a dale bottom which was deceiving in looking quite flat but was actually a steady climb the whole length.  Add to this the fact that the grass had been cut, but still left pretty long and all of the grass cuttings were piled on top.  This just sapped the energy from my legs!  A very steep but thankfully short hill led the way out of the dale (I’ll admit that I walked this) and back onto tracks and eventually into the woods again.

I’d decided that I was going to push hard for this race, and that I did.  I aimed to try and keep with a fellow club member and I finished just 22 seconds behind her, so thanks Karyn for helping me keep the pace up.  I’m pretty pleased with the result – I’m still not back to where I was, but this was a hard course, on a very warm evening and I had a great run and knew that I’d given everything I had.

Official time:  56:16

38 / 137 females

Cross training

Where are the weeks disappearing to?!

I’ve been aiming to get out on my push bike for weeks as a form of cross training.  Yesterday was the first day that I managed it.

The only cross training (if you can even class it as training) that I do is walking and the odd bit of yoga.  Both help, in particular the walking, at stretching and loosening achy joints and muscles, but I don’t think they do a lot for strength.   I have a mountain bike – not ideal for road biking, but it will certainly do and after comments from a friend on how much taking up biking has helped her running I was determined to try and incorporate this into my routine.

  • Session 1 = four miles (slightly hilly!)

I know it doesn’t seem like far, but it is a start!  Even for this distance I can feel my legs having to work different muscles and it is pretty hard work.  I’m not aiming for fast (and didn’t time the ride either); at the moment I just want to complete it.  I hadn’t felt great yesterday and could easily have stayed at home curled up on the sofa, but I didn’t, I got my bike out and went.  So I’m classing that as a success.

Next ride planned for Wednesday, which takes the weeks plan to this:

  • Mon:  1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Tues: 1.5 mile walk, club track session
  • Wed: 1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Thurs: 1.5 mile walk, 4 – 6 mile club run
  • Fri: 1.5 mile walk, 10k trail race
  • Sat: parkrun 3 miles
  • Sun: ??????  long walk

That is looking like a busy week!!

Last week I only ran three times, and incorporated parkrun into a long run.  I set off running in a bit of a fluster after setting off nice and early, planning to get to parkrun, do a minimum of 6 miles first but a road closure due to an accident (meaning I had to double back for several miles before I could take an alternative route) meant that I was much later than planned but still managed 4 miles.  My hips were achy right from the off due to three hours digging in the garden the night before…

I took a route through Danes Dyke for the first time – and I’ll happily do it again.  It is lovely and lots of steps to work on the legs J

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Danes Dyke

parkrun was completed with a friend on her first run in ages – a very nice three miles with lots of chat and catch up and then I headed straight off for another 6 miles.  I won’t lie, it was hard work.  But I’m very glad that I did it as the final long run before Humber Bridge Half Marathon.

Do you cross train?  What do you find best?

May 2017 Round up

Last day of the month and it’s a rest day, so I thought I’d have a look back to see how the month has gone.

May 2017 round up

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Sewerby parkun – nearly at the finish
  • Total miles:  87.38
  • Number of runs: 17
  • Races: 0

VERY pleased with the miles for the month!  14 more miles than last month, but in the same amount of runs – shows that I’ve been increasing the distance of the long runs.

Last night was track session and I really struggled with it.  I normally thoroughly enjoy these sessions and pushing myself hard, but last night there was just nothing in the tank.   The session was walk, jog, run, sprint between cone markers.  First one way, and then swap and go the other way round the track which meant that the walk was shorter, the sprint longer.  Because it was Bank Holiday Monday we’d taken Sunday as a rest day and did our long run of 11.5 miles on Monday.  I’m presuming (hoping?!) that this is the reason that I struggled with the track session this time.

But……..  this month has been good overall.  I’ve run my quickest parkrun in a long time and finally got back under 26 minutes and I’ve had some really good long runs.

Next month is busy, I’ve entered Sledmere Sunset trail 10k and Humber Bridge Half Marathon……

Running in the rain

Are we all enjoying the sunshine?!  It is beautiful at the moment, though I think club run this evening is going to be a very warm one.  (are you wondering about the post title yet?)

It has been a hectic few weeks again and I’ve realised that I didn’t do an April round up, so here you go:

April 2017 round up

  • Total miles:  73
  • Number of runs: 17
  • Races: 2

So that is a nice amount of miles for the month, and back to more where I want to be.  My average pace for the month (yes I’m a stats freak and I like working it out) 09:25 min per mile.  I’m really pleased to see that after struggling for quite a while to get my pace to where I wanted it.  Still have a way to go, but it is coming back.

This pic shows my pace for a recent club run.  I had to include it for a bit of a giggle.  This was a lovely evening run with club, a combination of road and off road, warm and muggy to start with lots of refreshing rain for the second half of the run.

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See the spike on the pace chart?  See the maximum pace – 5:22 min mile !!  That’ll be the field with cows, calves and bull in then…..  I am very scared going through livestock like this, and would only go across with several guys surrounding me (and our club coach who is as scared as I am!).  As soon as the way to the gate was clear I just went for it.  I suppose it could class as interval training…..

We really welcomed the rain on this run.  It was an overcast but very warm evening, with lots of bugs about.  It started with a heavy drizzle and got heavier until it was really raining.  There is something pretty fun about running in the rain.  Warm rain, no wind.  Perfect way to cool down !

Does anyone else like it or is it just me?

The Hornsea Triangle Trail run

18156996_10211765215822408_473294124944461009_nI’m always looking for new routes to try, as close to home as possible for convenience, which lead me to look on my local council website where they have a section for walks – showing routes, with distance and descriptions.  Really useful!  I saw this route quite a while ago but hadn’t had the chance to go and run it until the Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday morning found me and my OH heading off to the nearest point of the route to us to find somewhere to park and set off.  We’d decided that Seaton would be a good place to start, so that is where we headed – hadn’t even got out of the car and OH realised he’d forgotten his watch.  Oh well, that’ll be one that isn’t on his Garmin stats then!

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The old railway line

Just a couple of hundred metres on the road before we took a public footpath across a grass field (full of sheep and lambs at this time of year) and made our way towards the Wassand Estate where we picked up a public bridleway.  This part of the route was on rough track with quite a few gates to go through.  We missed our turning (the footpath sign wasn’t good!), but soon realised and picked up the path again which unfortunately for me lead into a field with bullocks in.  Now those that know me, know that I don’t like cattle.  I’m scared of them.  I was chased a few years ago by a cow whilst out walking and I now really don’t like going into fields where there are cattle.  However we were already a good way across the field (diagonally – the worst obviously!) before we saw them, so we just had to carry on.  My OH jokes that it was the fastest I ran on the whole route, but I really am scared!

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Can you spot the cattle?!  I was scared….

We finally came to the little church at Goxhill, that I’d never seen before.  It is a lovely little church and we’d timed it just as they were ringing the bell for morning service.  After a quick photo stop we were onto a short road section until we found the old railway line (Hull to Hornsea) that we followed all the way to Hornsea.  If you’ve never found an old railway line to run on, they are generally very good – straight, flat, fairly sheltered routes.

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We had the choice of two different routes to get back to the car from Hornsea – through the town and along the road and then footpath to the North of the main road, or off road just to the south of the mere.  We decided off road was the best choice so set off again.  It was beautiful!  A great route near the mere and then through some more fields (luckily empty!) back to the Wassand estate.  We then had a bit of an extra road loop to make the run up to 8 miles.

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Hornsea Mere

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It was a glorious day (need to find the sun cream if we have another day like this out running!), the route was fab and we thoroughly enjoyed the very relaxed run.  This for me is what running is about 🙂

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